An International Criminal Court only for Africans as Trump administration revokes visa of ICC prosecutor

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Updated: March 8, 2021


The Trump administration has revoked the entry visa for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, following an investigation into possible war crimes by American forces and their allies in Afghanistan, where thousands of civilians, including women and children were tortured or bombed to death.

President Donald Trump warned during his 2019 State of the Union Address that the United States would not surrend its sovereignty to any anyone, adding that no American would be tried by any other court.

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In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned the US might refuse or revoke visas to any ICC staff involved in ICC probes.

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you will still have or get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States.

“We’re prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the ICC does not change its course,” he said.

“A 2016 report from the ICC said there was a reasonable basis to believe the US military had committed torture at secret detention sites in Afghanistan operated by the CIA, and that the Afghan government and the Taliban had committed war crimes,” the BBC said, adding that “the US, which has been critical of the ICC since it was established, is among dozens of nations not to have joined the court”.

The ICC often intervenes when national authorities cannot or will not prosecute, investigate and bring to justice people responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

The ICC was established by a UN treaty in 2002, and has been ratified by 123 countries, however several countries, including China, India, and Russia, have refused to join.

Some African countries have called for the withdrawal from the court over perceived unfair treatment of Africans.

In addition, leaders of the African Union have described the ICC as a “racist, colonial and anti-African” court that almost exclusively investigates and prosecutes Africans, especially black African leaders.

Several African heads of state have been tried by the ICC and many Africans argue that the court only shows its powers when it comes to black African leaders.

The latest move by the Trump administration may finally prove them right.

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Simon Ateba Washington DC
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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